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Oct 17, 2017 3:02 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Schools Warn Parents Of New E-Cigarettes That Are More Easily Concealed--But Still Unwelcome

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Oct 17, 2017 3:15 PM

A new type of electronic cigarette with no smoke or vapor, and which resembles a piece of computer equipment, has become common enough in classrooms that several school districts issued reminders this week that its use is banned on school grounds.

Southampton High School, East Hampton High School and Westhampton Beach High School have all sent out letters and emails to parents since the start of the school year reminding them that the school is aware of this trend and are addressing parental concerns.

Last Friday, East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine sent out an email to parents stating that East Hampton and other local schools have noticed a “significant increase” in students using these e-cigarettes. The email points out the “clear dangers when students decide to inhale oils that contain nicotine and other chemicals”—and that some oils “contain THC and other synthetic-based marijuana products.”

The email notes that the East Hampton School District’s Code of Conduct forbids the “possession, use or sale” of e-cigarettes on school property. Mr. Fine said in an email on Tuesday the specific definition of banning e-cigarettes has been in the code for the last five years.

“The rise has been recent,” he said. “Over the last few years, we have noticed an increase. This year has been off the charts. It is a problem.”

On Monday, Southampton High School Principal Brian Zahn sent out a similar email to parents, specifically pointing out the frequent use of a type of e-cigarette known as “Juul” that can be easily concealed, as it looks similar to a flash drive that fits in a computer’s USB port. The letter similarly points out that the district’s Code of Conduct prohibits the use of e-cigarettes or vaporizers, and that any students caught using these products at school or at “school-sponsored events” could be suspended from school for five days.

“It’s something that we are seeing in the field in terms of our students,” Mr. Zahn said on Tuesday. “Because these are vaporizers and e-cigarettes, I think some students sometimes are not making the connection that you are actually smoking a cigarette. Part of the reason why I wanted to send the letter out is also as an education piece for our parents.”

On Tuesday, Westhampton High School Principal Dr. Christopher Herr said that he and his staff sent out a letter to parents dated September 26 this year stating that using these e-cigarettes is “against the law for anyone under the age of 21 and, if caught on school grounds, violates our school code of conduct.” He said the letter was sent out after catching students using e-cigarettes on school grounds this year.

“We noticed them pretty early on,” he said. “Over the past few years there have been a few cases here or there at best. This year, for whatever reason, starting in September, there’s been this sudden uptick in use.”

To keep the students informed, Dr. Herr said that staff members have been talking to students during physical education classes this year to remind them of the health risks that e-cigarettes pose. He added that students caught with these e-cigarettes will be punished with out-of-school suspension.

Electronic cigarettes, also known as “e-cigs,” “vaporizers” or “vape pens,” have been rising in popularity among teenagers. According to the U.S. surgeon general’s office, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine that comes from tobacco, which can still be addictive. E-cigarettes can also contain heavy metals, including nickel, tin and lead, along with ultrafine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs.

Pierson High School Principal Jeff Nichols said on Tuesday that e-cigarette use is treated the same as if a student is caught with cigarettes—or drug paraphernalia, if traces of marijuana are found on them. He added that he has been noticing the use of e-cigarettes by teens for about two years.

“I went to an athletic event at another high school, and in the stands there were kids vaping right in front of me,” he said. “I felt as though they were smoking cigarettes without the smoke. Obviously, you don’t want kids to be ingesting anything into their bodies that’s harmful.”

Concerns for teens using e-cigarettes is an issue of national importance as well. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York this week urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reverse a decision to delay the regulation of e-cigarettes this past May. Sen. Schumer said the delay in regulation and rise in popularity of e-cigarettes “demands the FDA smoke out dangerous e-cigs and their mystery chemicals before more New York kids get hooked.”

According to the New York State Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board, more than one in five New York high school students used e-cigarettes within the last year, which is a rate higher than the national average.

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Important issue. Needs to be addressed. Parents that are aware-should be more aware. Talk to your kids and their friends. Yes, maybe there are worse things they could be doing but we don't know the effects yet.

Also concerning is that if it's:
“against the law for anyone under the age of 21 and, if caught on school grounds, violates our school code of conduct.”, will the schools involve law enforcement, who will no doubt worsen the situation, facilitating the school-to-prison ...more
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Oct 18, 17 9:27 AM
If your kids say there are no negative effects of vaping, ask if they've ever heard of "popcorn lung", an irreversible disease that affects the smaller airways in the lungs.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (7992), HAMPTON BAYS on Oct 18, 17 9:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
��Vapin' in the boys' room
Vapin' in the boys' room
Now, teacher, don't you fill me up with your rules
But everybody knows that vapin' ain't allowed in school��
By Pacman (270), Southampton on Oct 18, 17 9:33 AM
Vaporizing and inhaling some cheap-o unknown chemical drek made in China. What could possibly go wrong?
By rburger (82), Remsenburg on Oct 19, 17 11:42 AM
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